A REMARKABLE lady, who is a treasured resident at Drumclay Nursing Home, Enniskillen, celebrated her 103rd birthday yesterday, Thursday.
Mary Jane Cathcart was born near Garrison, in the delightfully named townland of Meenagleeragh and, according to her son, Tommy (76), it was hard work on the farm that gave his mother these extra years.
“Diet? Well, there was no talk of diet in her time. There are a lot of people going to slimming classes now, but she never dieted in her life. To be quite honest, it was all bacon cabbage or bacon in the morning but in those days people worked so hard, there was no such thing as surplus calories. They burnt them off.”
And, Tommy speaks from personal experience. He is a daily long distance walker, and is a familiar sight for commuters heading out the Shore Road out of Enniskillen, where he now lives.
“She worked hard all her life. She was the eldest in the family, so she was used to putting the horses into carts, throwing up hay and doing the same as the rest of us. She never knew anything else, only hard work, and she was a great mother to us and a great wife to dad.”
Mrs Cathcart’s husband, Jamesy died in 1982.
They married around 1935 and, after settling at Scandally, Derrygonnelly, they moved with Tommy and his sister Annie to a farm at Tullycreevy, Monea which Tommy took over when his parents retired.
Mr and Mrs Cathcart then moved to a bungalow home at Springfield.
“She lived there up till she was 97”, Tommy explained.
“Then, she was suffered bouts of ill-health and we placed her in Drumclay where she has been for the past 4 years.
“She’s very happy there and the staff are excellent. You would have to give them 200 out of 100.
“She’s a very contented woman, and we visit her regularly.”
Mrs Cathcart’s family include Tommy and two daughters, Annie Miller, Lurgandarragh, Letterbreen and Emily Carson, Churchill, Derrygonnelly. Sadly, Alice Daly, the youngest in the family, died in 2007. She lived at Monea.
But, it will be mostly happy times tomorrow when Fermanagh’s latest VIP shares in a programme of activities prepared by Violet Henderson, the activities’ coordinator in Drumclay.
While her short-term memory is not what it was Mrs Cathcart’s hearing and sight are remarkable.
And, while she doesn’t bother much with television, or reading, put her in front of a DVD showing old-style farming, and she’s in her element!
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